Zai Divecha

Artist / Metalworker

Zai Divecha is a San Francisco-based artist and metalworker. She’s a Bay Area native and Yale grad who learned how to weld at age 14. Blending digital fabrication tools with traditional metalworking and papercraft techniques, Zai creates large, geometric wall hangings out of metal, wood, and paper. She works out of a shared metal shop in the Dogpatch neighborhood of San Francisco.

What role does music play in your day-to-day life as a creative?

I usually have music on while I’m working. But I’m not one of those people who’s constantly seeking out new music. When I fall in love with a song or album, I fall hard. I’ll listen to it on repeat, week after week. (Which is why I think a number of my friends will be surprised to see that someone wanted to interview me about my taste in music!)

For work, I gravitate toward downtempo electronic music. It needs to be melodic, hypnotic, and a little edgy. Nicolas Jaar, Chet Faker, Polo & Pan, Glass Animals, Zhu, and Alina Baraz come to mind. My playlist Lush // Grit is this kind of vibe.

In the interest of full disclosure, I also listen a lot of music while working that isn’t particularly trendy. I love 1920s-style covers of pop songs (Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox!), musicals (Wicked, Rent, Evita, Disney), 1970s white-guy music (Dire Straits, Beatles, Eagles, Simon & Garfunkel), and Top 40 (Sam Smith, Lana Del Rey, Robyn, Akon). If no one’s around, I definitely sing out loud while I’m doing repetitive fabrication work (that is, if I’m not wearing a respirator).

Tell us about your playlist

Lush // Grit is my go-to playlist. I listen to it in the studio, in the car, in the bedroom, pretty much everywhere. Most of these songs feature a sexy, hypnotic beat. Some are a little gritty or grungy. Almost all have a touch of melodic sweetness, whether it’s a lush instrumental hook or a sultry vocal.

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Lush // Grit

  1. Sueno en Paraguay – El Buho Remix – Chancha Via Circuito, El Búho
  2. Canopée – Polo & Pan
  3. Mi Mujer – Nicolas Jaar
  4. Battas – Mazde, LissA
  5. Cumbia del Olvido – Nicola Cruz
  6. Opus One – Russ Liquid
  7. Homens – Manu Chao
  8. Quick Musical Doodles – Two Feet
  9. Jardines – Chancha Via Circuito, Lido Pimienta
  10. El Bandido – Nicolas Jaar
  11. Departure – IHF
  12. Inspector Gadget – Russ Liquid
  13. Her Life – Two Feet
  14. Youth – Glass Animals
  15. Tarlabasi – Be Svendsen Remix – Oceanvs Orientalis, Be Svendsen
  16. Plage isolée (Soleil couchant) – Polo & Pan
  17. Colibria – Nicola Cruz
  18. Death – GladKill
  19. Electric (feat. Khalid) – Alina Baraz, Khalid
  20. #88 – Lo-Fang